6 myths about ICD-10 debunked

The deadline for ICD-10 is a little more than a year out, and the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services is working to make sure that myths about the process are squashed.

In a fact sheet published this month, CMS takes a look at some of the biggest myths surrounding ICD-10 and supplements them with the facts. Here are six:

  1. Myth: Extension of the ICD-10 deadline of Oct. 1, 2015
    Fact: The date will not be extended again, according to CMS. Oct. 1, 2015, it is.
  2. Myth: Entities not covered by HIPAA, like Workers' Compensation and auto insurance companies, may choose not to implement ICD-10 if they have ICD-9
    Fact: After ICD-10 is implemented, ICD-9 will no longer be maintained, CMS says. In addition, ICD-10 is of significant value to non-covered entities
  3. Myth: The increased number of codes in ICD-10 will make it impossible to use
    Fact: It won't be more complex, CMS says, just like adding words to a dictionary doesn't make it harder to use. The greater number of codes will in fact make it easier to find the correct code, CMS adds, and there will be am alphabetic index and electronic coding tools to help in selecting the right code
  4. Myth: ICD-10 will require unnecessarily detailed medical record documentation
    Fact: "While documentation supporting accurate and specific codes will result in higher-quality data, nonspecific codes are still available for use when documentation doesn't support a higher level of specificity," CMS says
  5. Myth: ICD-10 is already out of date
    Fact: In the years following the original development of ICD-10 codes, they have been regularly updated, CMS says. From Oct. 15, 2015, to Oct. 1, 2016, limited updates will be made for new technologies and diseases and then after Oct 1., 2016, regular updates will resume.
  6. Myth: GEMs were developed to provide help in coding medical records
    Fact: Code books are used to provide help in coding medical records, not GEMs. GEMs can be used to convert things like payment systems and quality measures to ICD-10

Misconceptions in ICD-10 were also addressed in recent article in the Journal of the American Health Information Management Association, including that ICD-9 does not need to be replaced (it does) and that SNOMED CT and ICD-10 are complementary (they're not).

To learn more:
- check out the CMS fact sheet (.pdf)

Suggested Articles

The Texas Health and Human Services Commission was hit with a $1.6 million fine for violating HIPAA privacy and security rules.

Ryan Schmid, the co-founder of Vera Whole Health, says the key to create a health revolution lies in advanced primary care.

American Well plans to acquire Aligned Telehealth in a move that strengthens its virtual care capabilities in behavioral health and telepsychiatry.